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While I can't be exact, it is true that there was no COA with some Custom Shop guitars for several years. But I can't tell you which years.

What I am sure about is that was a VERY good period for Gibson and I once played an early 90s 335 which was just absolutely superb and easily as good as a vintage 50s or 60s one. 

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I had this classmate when I was back in flight school who was really sharp and on top of things. 
David was prior-service, and had been a crew chief in the Michigan National Guard. He knew things, and he came to the training with years of stick time.

He had been our class academic leader throughout the earlier phases of flight training, but then had troubles when it came to getting to solo the training helicopter, keeping up in the Instrument phase, and then achieving the grades necessary to stay on top of the class. 

A small group of us were having a study session together at one point, in my barracks room. 
The former class leader was feeling a bit down. 

"Well, it looks like Jim will end up being Honor Graduate. I tried, but there's no way I'm ever going to pass him in the home stretch."

I asked, "Does it really matter all that much, Dave? Isn't graduating enough, especially as hard as it's been? Me, I'll be glad to just graduate."

He shrugged, "I guess. It's just that I had my heart set on being the Honor Graduate, and going back home to the facility in Michigan, and having my crew back there proud of me."

Denny, one of the other prior-service fellows, spoke up, "Dave, let me show you something, " and pulled a set of Army Aviator wings out of his breast pocket. 
"See this?"  He held the shiny silver badge up to the light, and displayed the front side and the back.
"I keep these on me at all times, for good luck."

"Sparky," he ordered, "You have your dad's old blood wings in your locker. Bring 'em out."

I did as he asked, and displayed them, front and back to the small group. 

Denny then remarked, "You see, Dave?  My wings, his wings, and your Army Aviator wings. They are the same. When they pin them on our chest on graduation day, they will all be the same."

Dave looked perplexed, and said, "I don't get your point."

Denny continued, "When you become an Army Aviator, they don't stamp, 'Honor Graduate' on the back of one guy's wings, and they don't stamp, '2nd Place' or '15th Place' on the back of anyone else's.  After flight school, we're all gonna be Army Aviators, the wings will be our license to continue to learn, your team back home will be proud of you, and nobody's going to care about where you were in your class standings."

Dave smiled and laughed, "Okay, I get it."

The Certificate Of Authenticity;  it's a really nice thing to have. 
And an original sales receipt. All the factory case candy, from 1991. That'd be lovely. 

But you almost never see it. 
People lose those things. 
They play the guitar, and they pack and move, and life goes on. Years later, they go to sell the guitar, and the CoA rarely comes up. 

I'm gonna shut up now. 


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